"We love getting feedback from gamers," says Whitten, as the Xbone pulls a 180.
"We love getting feedback from gamers," says Microsoft's Marc Whitten, "My ideal scenario is always that I'm working to build a product they love." But in the wake of the Xbox One's sudden policy reversal, there will be some changes. "What's going to happen is your online games and your physical games will work like they do today," says Whitten, which means Family Sharing is out. You'll also need to keep your physical discs with you when moving from place to place, rather than rely on the digital Games Library, as you'll need the disc to play. However one benefit of this is that, when you take a disc to your friend's Xbox One and play it there, should your friend want to buy the game no download will be required, as the digital heavy lifting will already have been done by the disc.
"There was always going to be a day one update on the console," Whitten confirms, "and that's frankly just a difference in manufacturing schedules versus software schedules." So you'll still need to be online for that crucial first update, but Whitten did say you'll be able to get it via smartphone tethering if need be; a benefit for those whose broadband is less than stellar. While always online - or its near-equivalent, the 24 hour check in - is no longer a thing, games which require a connected state, like Forza with its drivatars, will still need one regardless of Microsoft's policy change. "But that's up to the game experience and sort of how they use those features," says Whitten. The Kinect is still as vital as ever; you'll need to have it in order to play any of your games.
"If you think about the last three or four weeks, this has been our first chance to show our complete platform," Whitten concluded. "We've been listening to the feedback, we've been reading the forums, we've been reading the comments since that time." He's hopeful that the games on offer and the features provided by the new console will be sufficient to get customers exited again for the Xbox One. Whether that's so remains to be seen; we'll find out when the 2013 holiday season rolls around, and the $499 Xbone goes up against the $399 PS4.